Kohlman has also built a staff with the skills he needs to run his environment, with each IT worker having an average 10 years of experience. "To try to run a modern, highly virtualized data center requires deep skill sets," he said. Being part of a larger firm, at just about $2 billion, and with just over 10,000 employees, helps to maintain staff.
Broadly, Kohlman sees a mixed outcome for the future of in-house data centers, and points to the decision by some firms, notably General Motors, to in-source their IT. While he can see the trend by IT shops, especially at smaller firms, to service providers, some of it is being generated by the excitement of the times. "IT does get fascinated with bright shiny objects," he said.
Survey data reports shows rapid and strong interest in cloud services, something Jerry Luftman, executive director of the Global Institute for IT Management, has seen in the Society of Information Management survey data surveys. Outsourcing is growing generally, said Luftman. "The bigger question will be is it outsourced domestically or is it outsourced offshore," he said.
Peter Foulkes, an industry analyst with 451 Research, said many things will hold data centers back from service providers, namely security and regulation. He sees data centers sizing themselves for average workload environments and using cloud providers to meet peak demand. "Most organization realize it's more cost effective to run it themselves, as long as they are a large enough company," he said.
Patrick Thibodeau covers cloud computing and enterprise applications, outsourcing, government IT policies, data centers and IT workforce issues for Computerworld. Follow Patrick on Twitter at @DCgov or subscribe to Patrick's RSS feed. His email address is email@example.com.
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